Date: April 20, 2009
Author: Sportal and PA Sport

Gay storms to victory

Kiwi Tim Wilkinson blew his chance of a maiden PGA Tour title at the Verizon Heritage as Brian Gay cruised to victory at Harbour Town Golf Links. Starting in outright second place, Wilkinson could only manage a two-over-par 73 in his final round to finish in a tie for sixth place at eight-under. Although it would have taken a remarkable effort to prevent American Gay from picking up his second career US PGA Tour victory. Gay finished the tournament record low 20-under-par, one better than Loren Roberts in 1996, to win by 10 strokes, the largest margin of victory recorded at Harbour Town, eclipsing Davis Love III&aposs seven-shot win in 1998. Luke Donald finished in a tie for second place with American Briny Baird having started the day in a tie for 10th. Baird shot a closing 68 but even Donald&aposs eight-birdie, three-bogey 66 could not stop Gay increasing his advantage. The American shot a final-round 64, the lowest of the day, blemished by a single bogey that was only his second of the tournament. Donald and Baird finished at 10-under while two-time US Open champion Lee Janzen carded a level-par 71, missing out on a share of second and his best finish since the 2003 Memorial Tournament when he bogeyed the last to fall to nine under. That put him into a tie for fourth with former Open winner Todd Hamilton, who closed with a 70. Spain&aposs Jose Maria Olazabal finished in a tie for sixth at eight-under with Wilkinson following a final-round 67. Rory Sabbatini of South Africa carded 66 to claim a share of eighth place with Americans Matt Weibring and Tim Petrovic at seven-under. Gay, who won his maiden title at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico last year, began his round at 13-under, three shots clear of second-placed Wilkinson and a further stroke ahead of Janzen with Hamilton five shots in arrears at eight under. Any ideas that they might quickly catch Gay early were dealt a blow when the leader birdied the par-four first and then eagled the par-five second to move to 16-under and a six-stroke lead after Wilkinson parred the same holes. That lead became seven when the New Zealander bogeyed the par-four third and there was no looking back for Gay. Five more birdies followed, his only bogey coming at the par-four 12th and failing to halt the victory procession. Aaron Baddeley closed with a 70 to slip down to a tie for 21st at four-under, while Mathew Goggin and Nick O&aposHern were a further shot back in a tie for 30th. Nathan Green and Peter Lonard were tied for 48th, while Stephen Leaney (T58), Rod Pampling (T65) and Aron Price (T72) all struggled in their final rounds. Meanwhile, on the Nationwide Tour there was heartbreak for Australian Michael Sim who lost to Patrick Sheehan in a play-off. Sim, who won the inaugural Stonebrae Classic two weeks ago, stormed home with an amazing nine-under-par final round to force a play-off with the American who started the day five shots clear. Both players finished on 14-under, but only one extra hole was needed as Sheehan birdied the par-five 18th to clinch the title. Cameron Percy continued his fine form, finishing in a tie for ninth place at 10-under, while Paul Gow was a two shots further back in a tie for 13th. PGA Tour, Final Round of the Verizon Heritage, Hilton Head Island -20 Brian Gay 67 66 67 64 -10: Briny Baird 69 7 65 68, Luke Donald 73 70 65 66 -9: Todd Hamilton 68 66 71 70, Lee Janzen 65 70 69 71 -8: Jose Maria Olazabal 68 71 70 67, Im Wilkinson 71 67 65 73 -7: Tim Petrovic 68 70 69 70, Rory Sabbatini 70 68 73 66, Matt Weibring 70 70 69 68 -6: Woody Austin 70 73 66 69, Paul Casey 73 70 69 66 -5: Tommy Armour 70 68 74 67, Alex Cejka 64 71 72 72, Bob Estes 68 71 69 71, Spencer Levin 72 72 66 69, Steve Marino 71 73 67 68, Bo Van Pelt 73 70 66 70, Boo Weekley 69 72 70 68, Dean Wilson 69 74 68 68 Also: -4: Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 75 68 67 70 -2: Matthew Goggin (Australia) 73 70 72 67, Nick O&aposHern (Australia) 72 70 68 72 E: Nathan Green (Australia) 70 71 70 73, Peter Lonard (Australia) 72 71 68 73 +2: Stephen Leaney (Australia) 68 74 72 72 +4: Rod Pampling (Australia) 68 68 74 78 +6: Aron Price (Australia) 68 73 73 76